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April 22, 2000

Karim Alami


Q. What was most impressive in Cedric's game today?

KARIM ALAMI: He played very well. He played right, intelligently. He served well with mixed serves, very high, very slow on the backhand, a lot of mixing like playing on the forehand, on the backhand, then he went up to the net and sometimes he was staying back and I was not able to get my rhythm. He was staying in the back. He was going up. It was disturbing. I couldn't have my rhythm. I didn't serve well which didn't help me.

Q. During the match didn't you feel there was a slight opening, something that could have bothered him?

KARIM ALAMI: At 3-2 for him I was Love-30, I believe. If I had been able to make 3-All maybe the story would have been different. But he played better. He was confident and it was a difficult for me afterwards.

Q. Did you expect such a high quality of game from him?

KARIM ALAMI: At this level of the competition I knew he was going to play well. I played against him already in Morocco on clay and there we played from the baseline, both of us, and here, he was going up to the net all the time. He knew he had to do serve and volley. He won many points that way. The other time we played rather from the baseline. It was different.

Q. When you stepped onto the court, were you tense?

KARIM ALAMI: No, but I didn't serve well. My serve is an important point in my game and I believe this was a handicap.

Q. We saw you making gestures showing you were without any power against him. Did you feel that way?

KARIM ALAMI: I was not able to serve well. He was imposing this mixed serve on me from his side also. Every time he was going up to the net it was a winner. I was not able to feel my shots properly. Each time he was going up, he was playing a winner. Every time I was going up to the net he was passing me. I was trying to find a solution, but....

Q. Maybe the solution would have been the fog, if it had been a bit thicker? How were the conditions of games? It is rare to play with such a fog.

KARIM ALAMI: It is true that it was completely different compared to yesterday where it was sunshine, but it didn't bother me.

Q. Were you a bit tired because of yesterday's match?

KARIM ALAMI: No, I didn't feel tired. I was tired after Norman and Ruud, but today I was all right. This morning I woke up and I was surprised, because after the two matches against Norman and Ruud I was exhausted.

Q. What about now, are you going to continue on your role and still continue to play?

KARIM ALAMI: I will play Barcelona and I will stop one week. Then I will play Hamburg and Rome and I will stop one week.

Q. At what stage of the match did you really believe it was over for you?

KARIM ALAMI: When I shook hands with him.

Q. There wasn't a moment where you thought it was getting difficult?

KARIM ALAMI: Yes, at 3-Love in the second set he broke me. I was Love-40 and I thought that I was not even able to win my serve. I thought that things were going to be difficult for me. In the beginning of the match I didn't believe it would have been such a severe score. But that is the way it happened.

Q. He bothered him with big kicks on the backhand while serving?

KARIM ALAMI: Yes, that is it. He was playing many kicks on my backhand. He was going up to the net slowly. He had plenty of time to adjust his volley. What was bothering in his game is that his toss is the same for serve and volley or for a kick. So I never knew beforehand what he was going to do. If you step forward he plays a long serve on your forehand. If you stay back, he plays a kick.

Q. Usually we say about you that you have that type of mixed game. When you play we never know what to expect.

KARIM ALAMI: That is my game. But I didn't serve well today. I was not able to play my first serve so I couldn't go up to the net on the second serve. He served well. If I had served better I would have been able to win more points at the net.

Q. As far as the awareness is concerned Cedric is not so famous internationally than other players. What do you think of him?

KARIM ALAMI: I don't know what the other players think of him, but personally I consider him as one of the greatest players. For some time he was among the Top-10. He won three Grand Prix's. He was in the finals in Wimbledon and did very well at the US Open. He played maybe ten Finals or more. Maybe he is not as impressive as Agassi, but he is a complete player. He is present on all kind of surfaces, indoors, clay courts, grass; he plays everywhere. And for a player of 30 years old, he plays a lot during the year.

Q. Two days ago after your match against Ruud, you said that what you missed was the mental side for winning?

KARIM ALAMI: I was strong mentally today, but I was not feeling my shots. I think today is the day when I played the worst of the week. Maybe he made me play bad. If he had stayed on the baseline I would have had time to feel my shots. But there were many rallies in two shots serve and volley and even from the baseline two or three shots with the racket and it was over. It was not really long rallies like Norman and Ruud.

End of FastScripts….

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